How Many Miles Is Too High For a Used Car?

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Buying brand-new can run you twice as much as a used car would. Pre-owned vehicles will save you more money in the long run, especially since you won’t be paying as much interest when you finance them. But, when going used, what should you look for in your car buying experience?

Auto City’s website talks about buying used cars and how much mileage is too much for a vehicle to have. It explains all the factors to consider when determining whether a car is worth buying or not. 

What factors should you look for in a used car?

No one wants to get stuck with a lemon that causes you to put more money into a vehicle you weren’t prepared to deal with. While there are several things you could look out for, there are a few important ones to keep in mind. 

One thing you should do is check a vehicle history report. This will inform you if the vehicle has been in an accident, and what the title status is. If you notice that it had an accident previously, that could mean that you could run into issues with parts breaking down prematurely. 

Another thing you should look for is problem areas in the exterior. Look for dents, scratches, and rust. While rust and scratches aren’t necessarily a sign of anything bad, dents could be an indication of serious trouble down the road, depending on where the dent is located, and how bad it is. Have a trusted mechanic check it over to see if any of these could be a concern for you.

How much mileage is too high for a used car to have?

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There are many factors that go into determining how many miles is too much for a vehicle to have when buying a used car. One is its history. How many owners has it had and how well have they taken care of it (if the information is available). 

A one-owner car that a granny drove could be great on mileage, but you might be looking at internal issues from the vehicle not getting driven enough. On the flip side, the vehicle may have quite a few miles on it, but you have the maintenance records to show that it was well taken care of. 

Of course, everyone’s situation is different, but on average a vehicle can put on approximately 12,000 miles a year. So, if you’re looking at a car with an odometer that says 86,000 miles and the car is eight years old, you’re well within that average range, which would be 96,000 miles in this case. 

What are some issues to look for to avoid buying a lemon?

As a car ages, you can expect some parts to wear out and break down. The thing you don’t want is for those parts to die right after you buy the vehicle. But, you won’t always know when they’re getting ready to go. Some will, however, give you clues to their demise, so you can pass on buying it and look for something else.   

One of the most common parts that wear out is the alternator. This device powers many of the car’s parts, like the battery, dash, and air conditioning. When it goes, the other items aren’t going to work either.

One way to determine whether it’s still going strong or about to die is by checking the brightness of the lights on the dash and the headlights. If they seem weak, it’s more than likely going to need replacing real soon.

Air conditioning can be very important to your car, depending on where you live. If you live in a hot area, the last thing you want is to be stuck without cool air while you drive in a hot car.

The first indication that it may be on its way out is when you notice the air blowing through it is cold but not as cold as it should be. A lot of things you can find when test-driving a vehicle you’re interested in. 

Cars, nowadays, come with many sensors throughout the vehicle. Each one collects data, so another device can perform its ultimate function. If a sensor is going bad, other parts can’t work properly.

The best way to tell if a sensor is going bad is to pay attention to each feature the used car comes with. If you notice it isn’t working quite like it should, more than likely the sensor for it is going bad. 

While you might see a vehicle with a high number of miles on it, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Many vehicles have gone upwards of 500,000 miles from owners that took very good care of their vehicles. Don’t be driven to find a used car with the lowest amount of miles; instead, make sure it’s been taken care of and doesn’t show signs of parts wearing out. 

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